21 October, 2013

The UK Pole Dancer Series - Daniel Rosen

I am so delighted to finally be able to share with you all something I have been working on - the UK Pole Dancer series! Designed to get an insight in to the prominent pole dancers we all know and love; whether they be performers, competitors, judges, competition organisers, instructors, photographers, studio owners, pole related business owners or videographers. 
For our first ever post of the series we have Daniel Rosen; winner of Mr Pole Fitness UK 2013, lover of onesies and general all around bad ass. I have had the great honour of not only seeing Dan compete, UKPCC 2012, but also was able to attend one of his masterclasses. As one of the most prominent male dancers in the UK I had a few questions I wanted to ask him....

(Photo belongs to Jessica Macey).

Hi Dan, firstly I would love to hear how you got in to pole fitness originally and what it was about it that made you keep going?

I was on a night out with friends at a gay club called Pink Punters. They have 4 big poles in there and there was a few people playing on them and I just immediately decided I wanted to have a go so I asked someone to show me a move. The next minute I was in a local pole dancing class learning how to do it properly. I haven't been able to stop since.

As one of the most prominent UK male pole dancers have you experienced any form of discrimination, within or outside of the pole community for your involvement? How do you deal with it if you have?

No I genuinely haven't had anyone discriminate against me. I get a few funny looks when I do it in public (haha) but apart from that I have never had any trouble. I haven't had any bad experiences of it to be fair and people in Hemel Hempstead, where I am from, seem to be pretty accepting of it. I think I am very lucky but I also think that people's minds are starting to open to the new forms of exercise our industry has to offer. 

Recently you started teaching full time and gave up your day job, was this particularly difficult or a natural progression for you? What are the best and worst things about being a pole instructor?

It was a slow progression for me. I originally worked full time and then cut down to part time. Then I eventually left my part time job to add more classes to my pole schools time table. However, I have been so lucky with my master classes that I have financially been able to do this because without them I would probably been stuck in my part time job trying to save for all the poles etc I needed. 

Well the best part of it for me is that I don't have to sit at a desk ever again (he says while typing this email reply back to you). I just wasn't designed to sit at a desk all day so when I discovered pole I felt like it was a calling to me - what I needed to do with my life. I have never been happier than I am doing what I do now. I'm not going to make myself a millionaire from it and to those people that think pole is easy money please let me tell you its not. But I would much rather work all hours of the day doing something I love than sat in an office waiting for the day to end. The best thing about instructing are my students. My students are what keep me going and they are just such great girls.

Students are definitely my favourite thing about being an instructor too! I was lucky to attend a workshop with you some time ago and absolutely loved it. Your energy and expertise is amazing. Do you think you offer something different to female instructors? What are the positives and negatives of being a male instructor?

I wouldn't say I offer anything different. I would like to think I am very similar to female teachers. However, I would say I'm maybe a better spotter than some girls, except Donna Gant because she is hench and she is the only lovely lady I would ever trust to spot me in something dangerous haha. But, I guess being a guy and being strong helps me with things like spotting and I always get girls tell me that I am a great spotter. But that's probably because I am 6ft tall and fairly broad that they feel this way. Maybe I am just a good catcher? Who knows  :).

The positives of being a male are that the girls don't find me competition I guess. Some girls can feel threatened by other women, not all, so I guess that is a plus side. And to be honest I am the best of both worlds because I am a gay guy so I am basically a woman in a man's body! LOL. So girls tend to get on fairly well with me and we usually have a great laugh. 

You recently won the title of Mr Pole Fitness; when you first started pole fitness did you think you'd be competing today? (Feel free to share your titles here). 

Yes I have been lucky to win a few competitions. The main ones being Mr Pole Fitness 2013, UKPPC Pro Champ 2012 and British Isles Pro Champ 2012. However, it hasn't been easy and it definitely hasn't been a walk in the park for me. I have had to work myself into the ground for some competitions to get myself to the correct standard. I think when I started I knew I wanted to perform and I got into the competing and just fell in love with it. Now I am hooked :)

We've seen a lot of variety in your routines; comedy at the UKPPC 2012, strength at WPS 2013 and contemporary at Mr Pole Fitness UK 2013. What type of routine is your favourite to do and why? My personal favourite was your UKPPC routine, it had me in tears!

I have to say I LOVE a comedy routine. However, I like to be versatile in my styles because I don't want to be stuck in one genre of pole. I love them all. I have done sexy, strong, contemporary and funny and I love them all. But if I had to choose one it would have to be comedy. I love to make people laugh. And the funny routines are the ones I have most fun choreographing. 

There's a rumour that you're competing in the same category as Bendy Kate and Jess Leanne Norris at the UKPPC this year, that must be exciting, but are there any other competitions or performances we're likely to see you at in the future? 

The rumours have been confirmed and yeah I will be in the same category as all those crazy talented ladies however I plan to just go and have some fun this year. I'm going to play with another different theme this year and just try and enjoy my performance. I plan to compete in the World Championships which is in Feb and I am also toying with the idea of doing the World Pole Sports Competition which was in London this year as I found the competition really helped force me to up my game and get good. My russian split wouldn't be as flat as it is now without the pressure of that competition.

And to finish, what is the best pole performance you have ever seen?

I would probably say Marlo's Glass Drops is a favourite of mine. However I have so many favourite routines. I also loved Marlo and Steven Retchless's doubles routine as it was just brilliant. I have so many favourites. So hard to choose one. Lots of the Jenyne videos have been played over and over again as well. 
In terms of men's routines I am a great fan of watching routines by Derick Pierson from the USA and Edouard Doye from France. Such amazing pole artists. 

A big thank you to Daniel Rosen for taking part in my first ever UK Pole Dancers Series post! You can find out more about his classes over at his website. Keep an eye out for next month's post when I get to interview another magnificent person...but who will it be?

If you'd like to take part in this series please comment below or email me at spinninglovestoryblog@gmail.com

- Bex